Using the setting from the Escape from New York movie, I ran a short Sorcerer adventure for new gamer friends KW, BW and BB last night at Games and Gizmos, a local game shop in Redmond. Following advice I requested from a recent RPG.net thread on Sorcerer, I made up the PCs and demons for the most part - I let each of the players spell out their telltales and kickers, as well as their demon's names and telltales.
KW played Scry, an ex-commando, BW played Von Neumann, an inventor, and BB played Bill Forks, a NY Cabbie. All had been incarcerated in the Manhattan Maximum Security Prison for various reasons. While there, they learned Sorcery and managed to summon and bind their own personal demons.
Scry's demon was Ingvar, a Parasite demon that replaced her eye. Von Neumann had a demonic Parasitic arm named Alfred and Bill had a demonic car named The King in Yellow Cab, known most often as King. The binding rolls went good for some, and bad for others.
The Kicker part of character generation went OK, and I helped out and we eventually came up with some good kickers. Von Neumann had a power cell stolen and the thief escaped in a cab. Bill picked up a fare, dropped him off and saw him get murdered and the murderers were after him. Scry's group was wiped out before an escape attempt. All pretty cool kickers.
The game started on a Tuesday Night, at 8PM, with Von Neumann getting robbed of his power cell by Alex Chow, during the sale of a thermite bomb. He didn't notice it until Alex had escaped, after paying for the bomb, and jumped into a cab. He chased the cab on his motorcycle but lost him in the city and his motorcycle broke down. So he pushed the bike to the Night Market.
Scry went to the meet-up place and found her crew all dead. Except Alex Chow was missing. He'd been sent to get a bomb but hadn't returned. She figured she'd catch up with him at the Night Market and find out what happened.
Bill picked up a fare and dropped him off, watching as he was attacked and killed. He figured it was prudent to leave. But King started acting up, demanding cassette tapes (his Need) and wanting Polka music! Bill only had rap, and managed to convince King to accept two rap tapes. Later, after listening to the really, really bad rap and then eating the tapes, King demanded Polka! A contest of Wills resulted, with King winning and Bill forced to walk dangerous 5 blocks to the nearby Night Market to look for cassette tapes.
At the Night Market, Scry ran afoul of a couple of gang members, from the Baseball Furies. Combat ensued and she kicked on in the head, killing him, all the while her demon, Ingvar, was egging her on - "Kill him! Yes! Now kill his friends!" (his Desire: Mayhem). Von Neumann noticed this and figured she was a Sorcerer (he noticed her Telltale). Bill also noticed the tussle but didn't involve himself.
Bill ran into Von Neumann (they knew each other) and Von Neumann described Alex to Bill - he was the fare that got killed! They reached a deal, with Von Neumann getting Bill two Polka tapes for King and they took off to the spot where Alex died. Scry knew that Alex had used Bill's taxi and saw him leaving with someone (Von Neumann) and gave chase.
A local thief tried to sell Von Neumann's bike to Scry but she did a jump-scissor kick to take off his head and land on the bike, racing off after the King in Yellow Cab. Von Neumann's demon Alfred witnessed the bloodletting (his Need) and wanted some of the blood but was satiated with some of his master's blood instead.
Bill figured out quickly that someone was following them, and King gave Scry the slip, using his Cover: Race Car Driver ability to escape from Ingvar's Perception: City-sense ability (the first Demon ability vs. Demon ability in the game).
Scry hit up some gang members about the whereabouts of the taxi and got into another fight, losing the first exchange of blows (going completely defensive), then managing to win in the end, and getting the directions she required.
Bill and Von Neumann made it to the sight of Alex's death, finding his body hanging from a light pole. Von Neumann stepped out to get the body and a monster Ford Truck came out of the darkness at them. I told BW and BB that the truck was aimed right at King and King took that as a personal affront (his Desire: Competition) and Bill screamed as the two vehicles came together in a crash as Von Neumann used his demon arm to chop down the light pole onto the truck. The rolls were excellent, with BB getting a complete victory over the Ford Truck Bandits and King rammed through the Ford Truck, killing them all and totalling the truck as the light pole fell on the ruined mess of the truck.
Scry arrived on the scene to see the final battle and as King screeched to a stop, a glowing power cell rolled out from under his seat. Alfred drank the blood of the Ford Truck Bandits and Von Neumann recovered his power cell. With the PCs all together, the sesison came to a close.
All in all, I probably didn't run Sorcerer to the fullest and I resolved two Kickers pretty quickly (Bill's and Von Neumann's) but I played each of the demons pretty well, I think, trying to develop personalities and pushing the PCs to doing things that the might not have wanted to do. There were no Humanity checks but then there wasn't much time to summon and bind another demon and no-one did anything particularly un-Humanizing.
The after-game discussion was good, since none of us had played or, in my case, ran Sorcerer before, so we talked about the resolution system and demons. Everyone had a good time trying out this new system. Maybe I'll run it again for them. We'll see.
I published this one in December last year to announce the latest issue of my Switching to Guns 'zine and think it's a pretty good write-up.
Gnome Trouble: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Labyrinth Lord adventure set in the Ashford Valley
Get Ready: A set of gnome brother triplets has been robbing places around town. The townsfolk have no idea that the gnomes are doing these crimes because they think there is only one gnome and he's quite the booze hound and party animal. The other two do the job while the party gnome keeps in the public eye.
Get Set: The PCs come into town and take some rooms at a sleepy neighborhood inn. While there, they meet a gregarious and happily drunk gnome named Winkle (his full name is Roonwinkle). Before long, the gnome has the PCs joining him in wine, women and song. Meanwhile the other gnomes are robbing a nearby house.
In the morning, the PCs learn about the robbery. Suspicion immediately falls on the PCs (being the new folks in the neighborhood, because the gnomes have been around for about a week). The locals call the police and demand the PCs belongings be searched.
Go!: Over the next couple of days, more crimes occur. Each night, one of the gnomes parties hard (on the second night, Punwinkle does the deed, then Namwinkle on the third night, with Roonwinkle starting on the fourth night) and another home or business is burglarized. The gnomes quit after 4 robberies and then leave after a few days.
The police have no leads and the locals are getting more and more grumpy. One of them might take a pot-shot at one of the PCs, especially if they are flashing money around.
There are some clues that the PCs may learn from few of the friendly (to them at least) locals over the course of the following days. First, Winkle has been very friendly to everyone but the first day the PCs arrived was the first time he partied hard. He eats a lot, more than gnomes normally eat. He talks to himself (at least that's what the chamber maid says she hears through his bedroom door). And several of the neighborhood wives have seen two of the gnomes on two different streets at about the same time but haven't put it together. He also has a bad memory about what he did or talked about the night before (they don't always share their exploits with each other).
All these clues will require the PCs to wander around the neighborhood and talk to people who don't want to talk to them.
Notable NPCs: The Gnome Brothers (Namwinkle, Punwinkle, Roonwinkle); No. Encountered: 1 or 3; Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 5; Hit Dice: 1d8; Hit Points: 6 each; Attacks: dagger (1d4) or short sword (1d6); Save: D1; morale: 8; Special abilities: smoke bombs (obscure the area), sleep drops (Save vs. Poison or sleep), and "red eye" drops (save vs. Poison or get very, very drunk).
The Gnome Brothers aren't evil, they're just thieves and grifters. They are very gregarious and love to have a good time and use their "red eye" drops to get others into the party without a moment's thought. Even though they are thieves, they avoid violence, using sleep drops or smoke bombs to make their escape.
Since they look and dress alike, it is impossible to tell them apart, but they don't always tell each other what was discussed or done the night before. They could be tripped up and found out by some clever thinking PCs. If they are caught, they'll make a run for it. Whether they turn out to be enemies or eventual friends of the PCs depends on the results of the interaction. In fact, the Gnome Brothers could be good allies against the Necromancer.
I ran an Aftermath! campaign set in Washington, D.C. a long time ago and recently found the notes in some old gaming papers of mine. I put a lot of work into it but I didn't write everything down (so I don't remember how it was supposed to go) , so I'm going to post what I have (including any archaic technology, e.g. M60 tanks, because that was in Aftermath!) and fill in whatever blanks are left.
The D.C. Campaign started 25 years after the Ruin and I didn't really have an actual start date in mind, so don't expect it to be 2025 AD or something like that. The survivors call it 25 AR (After Ruin), the new world isn't interested in old world time.
No one really knows what happened. World War III was full NBC. For some reason or another, the nuclear missiles targeted on D.C. missed or were shot down by missile defense but the chem and bio weapons got close enough to do the job.
Amidst the bombs, food riots and complete break-down of society, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area had widespread looting, out-of-control fires and mass death from chemical and biological weapons. Within two months, the metropolitan population went from 5.3 million to less than 700,000. The secondary kills and related problems over the years, including a virulent plague (probably of human origin) in 15 AR (after Ruin), dropped the population down to the present levels, somewhere between 10,000 and 70,000. Several communities survive to this day from those troubled times.
Radiation, cannibals, pockets of still-active chem or bio agents, bandits and thieves, wild animals and stranger things still, and people just trying to get by mix in this glorious old capital of a dead country. And into this strange new world come the player characters.
Will they help rebuild Washington? Or loot it's corpse like those from the past?
I usually make up a bunch of PCs for each of the games I play in and then choose the one I want. Here was one that I made for a game of Silver Age Sentinels that never saw the light of day (except to the GM).
Name: Dyson "Dice" Ros Genre: SAS Default Skills First Comic Appearance: RhinoBoy #1 Group Affiliations: Occupation: Superhero Territory: South Africa Age: 15 Gender: Male Height: 5' 6" Weight: 120#
Description and Character Notes: Slim young caucasian male, formerly of South Africa. Parents were missionaries who traveled all around Africa. Raised by a native nurse who taught him about the animal spirits in the wild. Parents and nurse were murdered in a tribal attack. Nurse prayed to the spirits to protect him and the spirit of the Rhinoceros entered into him and he became a super-hero. Escaped the slaughter and found out later that a powerful CEO started the unrest to make a better profit. Seeks justice on that powerful CEO.
Body: 3 / 15 Rhino Form Mind: 6 Soul: 6 Health Points: 45 Energy Points: 60 Shock Value: 9 Combat Value: 5 / 10 Rhino Form Defense Value: 3
Immovable: Stands Like A Rhino! 1x1 = 1 (+2 levels from Mass Increase) (60 meter knockback reduction)
Mass Decrease (Insubstantial) 6x3 - 5 = 13 (1mg, pass through Concrete/Earth) (Burns Energy 3x-1 = -3 (5 pts or 10/day), Concentration 2x-1 = -2 (Intense Concentration), Mass Increase: Mass of the Rhino! 2x8 = 16 (4 mass multiplier))
Natural Weapons 1x1 = 1 (Horns)
Physical Impairment: No Fine Manipulators 3x-1 = -3 (Severe Inconvenience)
Gamma Ray Games Address: 411 E Pine, Seattle, WA 98122 Phone: (206) 838-9445
RPGs: small selection Indie RPGs: small selection Used RPGs: unknown Miniatures: small selection Boardgames: good selection Gaming space: 3 tables (above main store) Comics: limited to none
Family Friendly: yes* Knowledgeable Staff: yes*
Overall Rating: Good*
* based on a 15-20 minute, first-time visit.
Gamma Ray Games is located on the south side of East Pine, between Crawford Place and Bellevue Avenue, down the hill towards I-5 from Seattle Central Community College. The shop is between a bookstore and an alley, and has a small retail space but a neat spiral staircase leads up to the gaming area, about three tables worth of space (when I went it was full of gamers playing D&D 4e).
The proprietor was friendly and helpful, without being pushy. He was also dressed like it was a business: nice slacks, shirt, tie and vest. The retail space had a good selection of board games and card games but a small amount of RPGs, mostly D&D4e, but also WHFRPG 3e (including the Adventurer's Toolkit and Dice Accessory Pack), Serenity RPG (plus most of the supplements) and several Indie RPGs. A local product, How to Host a Dungeon, was prominently displayed. Business cards were a variety of gaming cards (Magic cards, Twilight Struggle, old Everway art cards, etc) with stickers with the store info on them. This was a nice touch.
I talked with the proprietor (didn't get his name, sorry) and he seemed pretty knowledgable. He noticed my interest in his admittedly limited Indie RPG stock and mentioned trying to get more in from Indie Press Revolution. I didn't see any used games (or used RPGs - my usual reason for going into a game store), but the man behind the counter said that he was interested in trade. Also, I asked about ordering games and he was more than willing to do so. However, check with the store to make sure I got that right.
After running Duty and Honour, I got the first Sharpe's TV episode, Sharpe's Rifles, from my local library. Me and the gf watched it and plan on getting the rest from the library. If you have the opportunity, watch them, they are very good.
I've been writing some short adventures set in my Ashford Valley campaign for my Switching to Guns 'zine and posting them when I announce the latest 'zine issue. Here's one I wrote in October last year. About a Boy: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Labyrinth Lord adventure set in the Ashford Valley
Get Ready: While the PCs are at a rural farm, a traumatized boy stumbles through the fields, clutching a Bugbear longsword. The boy is covered in blood and because of his horrible experience is unable to talk. The farmer tells the PCs that the boy, Richard Westfield, lives about a couple hours walk away to the West. Have the local humanoids started a new campaign against the farmers in the area?
Get Set: The PCs could have any reason to be at the farm: visiting an old friend, stopping for a drink at the well, lost after leaving the main road and stumbling upon the farm. The farmer, a Ferndok Eastfield, is friendly and invites the PCs for drinks and food, showing good hospitality. His farm is well run, with a large family and several farm hands working it.
When the boy shows up, Ferndok is noticeably concerned. If the Bugbears are raiding, his family is in danger. He's also worried about the fate of the Westfields, as they are good neighbors and his family is close to them (their ancestors settled the area together, with one family taking the Westfield name and the other the Eastfield name based on where their fields were from each other).
Figuring the PCs might help out, Ferndok has got nothing to offer them but food and shelter (plus eternal friendship). Also, the boy has a valuable Bugbear Longsword (Dam: 1d8+1) which he'll offer to the PCs. He'll keep the boy with him if the PCs don't insist on taking him back to the Westfield farm. Ferndok will give directions but if pressed will accompany the PCs part of the way to make sure they get there.
As the PCs leave the farm, people are running around, getting supplies in and arming themselves. A young boy on a pony rides out to warn other farms.
Go!: The trip to the Westfield farm is picturesque, no matter what time of year it is. Along the way, the PCs will encounter a wild boar and a roadside shrine to a local spirit.
The boar will attack without warning and should be an easy encounter for the PCs. If they hang up the carcass after killing it, they can fetch it back to the farm after the adventure and Ferndok will pay them a good price for it.
The roadside shrine is to a local spirit and is right next to a Runestone. If the PCs stop and leave an offering (a bit of food or a keepsake), then they will receive a +1 to all attack, damage and saving throws until sundown. If they deface or damage the shrine, then each PC will have a single bad event in the future (GM determines) which will bring to mind this shrine.
A cruel GM could have them run across some humanoid tracks on the path, prompting the PCs to decide whether to follow them (and get lost in the forest) or continue with their mission to the farm.
As the PCs approach the Westfield Farm, but before they see it, they hear someone chopping wood. Bugbears usually don't raid a place then stop to chop wood. Entering the clearing, they can see a rough-looking man chopping wood. He spots them immediately and stops, staring at them suspiciously and holding his axe. The farm looks completely normal, with smoke coming out of the chimney and cows making noise in the barn.
If the boy Richard is with the PCs, the man will smile broadly and motion the PCs to the house. Otherwise, he'll call to them to "come get a drink and tell me the news." Once the PCs are close to the house, the bandits will attack!
The Bandits ("Poison" and his crew); No. Encountered: 5; Alignment: Chaotic; Armor Class: 7; Hit Dice: 1d8; Hit Points: 6, 5, 4, 4, 1; Attacks: axe or short sword (1d6), dagger (1d4), bow (1d6); Save: NM1; morale: 6.
"Poison" and his crew are a bunch of lowlife bandits who've recently moved into the area to make some quick cash and indulge in their hobby of murder. They killed the Westfield family except for Richard (who escaped with his father's Bugbear Longsword) and have been living on the farm ever since. They'll try to get anyone who approaches the farm close to the farmhouse so they can attack them in force.
If the PCs manage to capture or kill the bandits, there's not much at the farm interesting to adventurers. While the farmer was prosperous, he sunk most of his money back into the farm. The local farmers around will see to it that Richard's inheritance comes to him when he's of age and they'll be glad the PCs finished the bandits for good.
If any of the bandits escape, especially "Poison," they've earned an enemy for life and they'll encounter them later, maybe with a new gang or working for the Necromancer!
I'm an unabashed fan of the post-apocalyptic genre. Rebuilding society or just being a bandit in a world that is now (or near-future) with a complete breakdown of society due to some sort of world war is great fun.
Aftermath! falls straight into that genre. Other PA games published during the late 70s/early 80s were Metamorphosis Alpha/Gamma World, and The Morrow Project. While Gamma World/Metamorphosis Alpha were more wild-and-wahoo, science fantasy, and The Morrow Project more modern military-esque game, Aftermath! was the first PA game that had gritty, gritty complexity.
Heroic Worlds describes Aftermath! as follows: "Postholocaust system featuring complex combat rules for contemporary and near-future weaponry. Players who appreciate the subtle differences between various types of firearms will probably enjoy these rules."
The Wikipedia entry has this statement: One fan commented on a forum... "I've heard legends about early games like Aftermath, which were said to cause bleeding from the eyes due to the sheer complexity of their rules."
Yes, Aftermath! was complex, had a system overburdened with sub-systems that slowed game play down considerably. Character creation took a long time, combat was very deadly (but alternately very humorous - called shots to damage location 12, the crotch, was a common joke, at least among my fellow gamers) and even a simple fire-fight took hours to run through. It was the crunchy system, well before GURPS came on the scene in 1986, but it was a lot of fun.
I played it pretty steadily from about 1981 to when I last ran an Aftermath! game in 1995 (I was living in Portland, Oregon, during grad school and it went slow but pretty good). Since then, I've only used it as reference.
Aftermath! had a number of excellent supplements, including:
Scenario Pack 1: Into the Ruins - The City of Littleton (1981),
Scenario Pack A1: Operation Morpheus - The Ruins of the Univeristy (1982),
Scenario Pack A2: Sydney: The Wilderness Campaign (1984),
Adventure Pack K1: The Empire of Karo (1984), and
Campaign Pack C1 - The City State, Chicago and the Illinois River Valley (1987).
Fantasy Games Unlimited still publishes this game and have added a couple more supplements to the lineup, including Aftermath! Technology (1992, 2008), Aftermath! Survival Guide (2008) and Aftermath! Magic (2010).
Aftermath! is considered, in my estimation, one of the best resources for a post-apocalypse RPG. Don't use the system but use the info if you run a post-apocalypse game.
American Eagles Address: 12537 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98125 Phone: (206) 440-8448
RPGs: good selection, mostly older games sold as new at MSRP Indie RPGs: limited Used RPGs: limited Miniatures: excellent wargaming selection (Napoleonics, WWII, etc.) Boardgames: good selection Gaming space: limited to none Comics: limited to none
Family Friendly: yes Knowledgeable Staff: none I've met
Overall Rating: average (and that's only because they may have something out of print you are looking for)
American Eagles is located in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle, on the west side of Lake City Way between NE 125th and NE 127th streets. There is a dance studio next door to the south and a sushi place on the other side. There is plenty of parking in the back if you can't find a spot on Lake City Way.
The shop is very large and has a large display window. The RPG section is to the left and towards the back of the store and the rest of the store is filled with models and miniatures, with the downstairs section a train store.
In the early '80s, American Eagles was the top store of three excellent game shops in the Seattle area. The other two, Triple Alliance in the Old Town neighborhood of Bellevue and the U.S.S. Enterprise in the Totem Lake neighborhood of Kirkland, are now long out of business. My friends and I, all living in Kirkland, would take the bus into Seattle to travel to Ballard (where American Eagles was at the time before they moved to Lake City in the mid '90s). It was a all-day pilgrimage. We had easy access to the U.S.S. Enterprise and Triple Alliance but the best of everything was at American Eagles.
I usually only go to American Eagles now once or twice a year. I have had good luck finding way-out-of-print RPG items there but they are sold at '80s and '90s MSRP, some of which are worth it but most available elsewhere at better prices. With the advent of ebay, a bunch of scavangers went through the shop and got every RPG that was worth something but you still may find stuff that isn't in the "hot" category.
The staff when I was a child were rude and uninformative, but that could be because a horde of teens descended on them in a frenzy every Saturday. However, as an adult, I've noticed that if you aren't buying models or trains, the service is EXTREMELY poor. Your mileage may vary, however.
Personally, they are my last, best local hope for finding an RPG or supplement. But usually, I'll search the internet.
My gf and I went out a couple of weekends ago to look for a "new" antique bookshelf to hold more of my gaming collection.
At one of the antique shops in Monroe, Washington, we found two that would do. One, a nice 5 shelf finished wood with carvings, and another, teal with a compartment on the bottom shelf.
The finished wood with carvings bookshelf was $295, a bit steep for me and mine. The teal one, however, was on sale for 50% off of $125. That's the one we got. I haven't put my game books on it yet, but it's working with the decor we have in the spare bedroom.
Updated Good News: Christian Walker, a long time friend as well as supporter of my 'zines and this blog, has decided to not stop blogging and still work more on his excellent Iridia 'zine so the Destination Unknown Blog has not gone into the West (as reported by The RPG Corner).
Last year, my gf bought me a bookshelf to store my very favorite RPGs. All the rest of my games are in plastic tubs in the closet but this allows me to have all the games that I play on a regular basis (or wish I played on a regular basis) at hands reach.
It's a cream bookcase with doors. I can close the doors and no one is the wiser (her idea). It's in our spare bedroom and when I get ready in the morning, I can take a look inside and marvel at my collection.
As you can see, I've continued to collect games (and put them on top of the shelf). So I needed another bookshelf ("or, maybe, just maybe, stop collecting so many games," she said).
Heroic Worlds by Lawrence Schick (published by Prometheus Books, New York, 1991) is the most comprehensive book on role-playing games. It lists all RPG games and supplements produced from 1973 to 1991, in an easily read format, divided into genres and alphabetical by system. Each game is described by format (box set, hardback, etc), page count, system, publisher and a brief description of the game or supplement itself. It is the reference source for any serious game collector.
I have two copies of Heroic Worlds, one I bought when the book was new, the other I found cheap a few years ago in a Half Price Books. When I find something online published before 1992, I pull it out and make a more informed decision about purchasing it. Personally, I'd buy a part II (1991 to present) if it ever got produced (slim chance at this point).
If you have a chance to pick one up, I highly recommend it.
A lot of different blogs have specialty days of the week, which I think is pretty cool. So in that spirit, I've decided to reserve Thursdays for post-apocalyptic games and campaigns. I'm a big fan of the genre and have played and own a bunch of the games, from Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World, to Summerland and The Day After Ragnarok, with Aftermath!, The Morrow Project, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: After the Bomb, Twilight 2000, Rifts, System Shock, GURPS: War Against the Cthor and that retro-clone Mutant Future in between.
So from now until Doomsday (or I run out of material), Thursdays are going to be Atomic!
Gary's Games Address: 8539 Greenwood N, Seattle, WA 98103 Phone: (206) 789-8891
RPGs: excellent selection Indie RPGs: excellent selection Used RPGs: excellent selection Miniatures: good selection Boardgames: excellent selection Gaming space: good, 3-4 tables Comics: limited to none
Family Friendly: more often than not G rated Knowledgeable Staff: hit-or-miss
Overall Rating: excellent
Gary's Games is located in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle, on the west side of Greenwood Avenue between 85th and 87th streets. It has a travel agency next door to the south and a tavern on the other side. The shop takes up two store fronts. Entering, you find yourself in a boardgame area to your right with the main counter/display case/register to your left that extends half way down the length of the store.
Straight ahead from the register are a series of shelves that house miniature paint supplies, RPGs and card supplies (bridge, poker, etc). A play table sits in the middle of the store, next to the archway into the second store front. As you enter the archway, there are a mass of models and boardgames to your right, towards the front, and the used game section to your left in two large shelves, with another 3-4 game tables beyond them.
The new RPG sections are very good, with new releases and most of the current games available. I'm not sure about their policy on special orders but you're an adult, you can ask yourself. My main reason to go to Gary's is the used games - it's my go-to place.
If you are looking for something out of print or second hand, it's got a great selection. The economy, however, has had an impact on the used game market, so it is probably the smallest I've seen it and I've been going to the store for over a decade.
The staff is usually pretty good but their knowledge can be a bit hit or miss. If you go during the week, the guy behind the counter is friendly and asks the usual questions but leaves you alone to shop. On the weekend, the staff is just as good.
On the whole, Gary's Games is in the top two (along with The Dreaming) Seattle area game shops. Next time you are in town, looking for a used game or a just-released RPG, go there.
Reputations: Institutional (Rank & File) +2, Institutional (11th Queens Own Rifles) +3, Institutional (Orange Order Ulstermen) +1
Traits: Illiterate, Chosen Man, Is But A Scratch Sir, Under the Lash, 2nd Language (Gaelic).
Private McNeb was raised in Ireland as a farmer. Being Protestant, he sided with the Ulster Orangemen against the Irish Republican Brotherhood, not wanting Ireland to become a Papist state.
After leaving Ireland under some *ahem* unusual circumstances, he joined the 11th Queens Own Rifles and before long found himself in Spain. Wherever he went, though, his skills with carpentry and brewing have put him in good stead. He provides the rest of the regiment with quality booze (and even better booze for select officers).
(XO stated he was going to make the most useless private he possibly could. Unfortunately, during character creation, time and time again he drew cards that made McNeb more and more competent, eliciting a cry of "God dammit!" each time. Therefore, he sunk all the possible points he gained into brewing and carpentry. Who thinks that at some point in the adventure he'll have to repair a bridge?)
My friend KM and his wife A invited the gf and myself over for a boardgame night on Saturday. We joined in with two other couples, T & C and D & R, as well as KM's co-worker M. We brought some tasty snax and played two games of You Must Be An Idiot (R&R Games), with the gf and I on the same team. This boardgame was very interesting and fun, very much so that I am interested in buying it.
The board has boxes numbering from 0 to 40, as well as colored boxes (red, blue, green, yellow, white and purple) for each of the player teams and each team has three colored plastic markers. One marker is used to travel on the board and the other two are used to vote during each turn.
The game starts on box 10 and one player team draws a red question card. The other teams are issued a blue personality card, which shows a variety of pictures (ballerina, pig farmer, astronomer, hippie, ice queen, & etc) or a picture of person holding a sign that says "I'm an idiot." If you get that idiot card, you purposefully have to flub up the answer to the question; otherwise, you have to answer the question to the best of your ability.
The red question card has 5 or so questions, from simple to complex, one of which is read to the group. Each team writes down the answer and when everyone is ready, each team answers the question. If they get the answer correctly (assuming you have a non-idiot card), the team reveals their blue personality card and moves ahead 2 spaces. If they get the answer wrong, then they do not reveal their personality card and the voting beings. If you accidentally get the answer right when you are an idiot, you gain no benefit (that happened at least once during the game).
Each team can vote whether two other teams are idiots. You don't have to vote at all but the risk is worth the reward, sometimes. After everyone votes, each remaining personality card is revealed, one at a time. If you discover an idiot, you gain two spaces. If you incorrectly accuse a non-idiot of being an idiot, you move back one space and the team you accused moves ahead one space. If you are an idiot and you remain undiscovered, you move ahead THREE spaces.
Then the next team asks the next question and the game continues until there are no more blue personality cards to draw. The team with the highest points, wins!
Part of the fun was trying to spoof the other players into thinking you were an idiot when you really weren't (which happened quite frequently). There was a lot of gags, raised eyebrows, and verbal assessing whether this person or that person was an idiot or just faking.
We had a good time, got to meet some new and friendly people and play a game with good food and drink. All around, a very enjoyable evening.
In addition to being a table-top role-playing gamer, I also collect role-playing games.
I think it is necessary to separate the two hobbies, because playing something is distinctly different from collecting something.
While I think it is possible to be a gamer without collecting games, it seems most collectors are also frustrated gamers - unable to find enough time for all the gaming they want to do in their lives due to family, work and social obligations, they resort to reading about it to get that "gaming fix."
Unfortunately, there are some collectors who believe that those gamers who don't collect are "casual gamers" and this isn't the truth. Apples and oranges, totally in my opinion.
I think the bad part of collecting large amounts of games is the chance of actually running or playing one of them rapidly approaches zero.
And the good part of collecting large amounts of games is the reading and imagining and thoughts of pulling that bit into your next session or seeing how that sub-system works in another game.
But if you collect, then available space, money and spousal ire are also to be considered. Every time a new box from Amazon, Noble Knight or Lulu shows up, I keep telling the gf that at least I don't collect miniatures!
So far this year, she's busted my chops about collecting, mainly along the lines of "you need to admit you have a problem before you can heal" sort of gentle ribbing.
Private MacTaggart is a thief and a damn good one. Hailing from Edinburough, Scotland, he made quite a name for himself, doing a lot of skulduggery, even getting in good with a crime lord. Unfortunately, he got busted and given the choice: take the King's shilling or end up in Australia or the Prison Hulks - he chose the army.
During his first campaing, he managed to get a multi-shot rifle and the skills to use it. He's alive, and still thieving, mainly because he can and he rarely gets blamed. He's one of the few in the company who can actually swim, which he learned to get away from trouble. Maybe he'll swim out to that boat there and take a look around ....
(MW, the player of MacTaggart, made a complete and competent thief and did quite well during the character generation. During the game, MacTaggart got some good personality quirks, especially in his dealings with the green lieutenant. If somebody's going to kill that bastard Vanderbottom, it'll probably be MacTaggart)
In the final session of Duty and Honour last night, the PCs awoke in the barn after an uneventful night. The two privates on watch heard horses and spotted movement in the trees even in the weak light. A horse and rider came bursting out of the treeline, hotly pursued by another rider.
The pursuer fired on the lead horse and brought it down in a squeal of pain. Private MacTaggart determined that the shooter was a Frenchman and he and McNeb fired, injuring the cavalryman. Sergeant Owen joined in and the three brought him down as the early morning sunlight filled the field.
The party quickly took control of the situation and put down the injured horse, made sure the Frenchman was dead (yep), stripped him of possessions and pistols, and checked on his quarry, who turned out to be a Spanish woman.
With no one in the group able to speak Spanish, she conversed with Sergeant Owen in French, which led to an very fun bit. Her name was Dolores and she was escaping the Frenchman on his companion's horse (after stabbing said companion). The Frenchman sought some "forced romance" with her. She made some comments about Lieutenant Vanderbottom (he's very pretty, he must be a nobleman's son, there are many Spanish noblemen's sons who are the very same).
Vanderbottom grumpily ordered the men to find out what she knew and send her on her way, then stalked away in disgust. With some French money, a pistol and the worst horse from the group, the Sergeant and Privates let her go. On a far hillside, the group spotted a lone rider in black. Sergeant Owens raised his hand in salute and the rider did the same, then disappeared into the trees.
The PCs continued on to San Sebastian. On a narrow part of the trail, they encountered some old woodcutters and their donkey. Both groups stopped at a distance to look each other over and the husband spoke to the wife and they moved on, leading their wood-laden donkey past the party.
Sharp eyes on the Sergeant and Private MacTaggart spotted something wrong about their pile of wood, so they stopped and searched the donkey, finding 15 Baker Rifles! How did these guns, English guns, get here? Questioning the couple, they were lead to an ambush of a patrol from the 11th Queens Own. It was a complete killing box and the Englishmen were wiped out.
From clues around the site, they determined that a group of mounted French cavalry ambushed the Englishmen, and then left quickly, not even looting the bodies. Private McNeb noted that the horses were ridden almost to the point of death (at least until they were killed by the French) but the party had no idea why this patrol was here. Where were they going?
The woodcutters had happened upon the scene and took advantage. Sergeant Owens made sure the old folk didn't have any of the 11th's property and they hastily departed. With heavy hearts, the PCs arranged the dead for later burial and marked the spot on the map to return there, continuing on to San Sebastian in order to fulfill their mission.
Along the trail to San Sebastian, they encountered the black-clad rider again and discovered he was an English officer, Lieutenant Bruttenholm (pronounced "Broom"), with the 3rd Prince of Wales Hussars, detached, "because he spoke the Spanish." He didn't tell them his mission, only that he'd gotten lost so he would travel with them at least to San Sebastian.
Upon reaching the village, Lieutenant Vanderbottom insulted and in turn challenged to a duel the head man in the village. The man agreed to the fight, choosing swords and both Privates tried to make bank in bets with the Spaniard's men. Sergeant Owens convinced Lieutenant Bruttenholm (pronounced "Broom") to intercede and make the duel to "first blood," rightly figuring that if Vanderbottom succeeded in killing this man, their contact, El Zorro, would be displeased. Vanderbottom and the Spaniard agreed to first blood.
The duel was short and but no-one got hurt very much (both sides had one normal success each, even though the Spaniard drew 9 cards to Vanderbottom's 7). With honour satisfied, the Spaniard identified himself as El Zorro and Vanderbottom managed to avoid another social gaffe. With the muskets delivered, most of the men of the village took them to other partisan bands, leaving the party, El Zorro and five of his men to discuss future actions.
The French cavalry decided to attack during the afternoon meal. A young boy brought the news the French were coming. Splitting the village in two, the English defended the west side and the Spanish the east, as the French attacked both sides.
The battle went very well for the English, with no injuries and the death of the French commander. Lieutenant Vanderbottom (surprisingly) managed to lead the men effectively and the 11th Queens Own paid back the French for their dead comrades!
The game ended with attempts at promotion. Lieutenant Vanderbottom tried for a captaincy but there were no openings available. The enlisted men attempted to be promoted through valour but only Private McNeb succeeded - now Corporal McNeb.
All in all, the Corvis Monkey Troupe had a good time trying out Duty & Honour and several players expressed interest in continuing the adventures of the 11th Queens Own Rifles or trying out a game of Beat to Quarters (the sister game to D&H, set on the high seas).
Recently, a co-worker retired and gave me all the old road maps he had in his desk. He's moving to West Virginia and plans on stopping by AAA to get more so he didn't need these out-of-date maps.
I gladly took them. It was quite a stack.
I love maps. Every time I go to a used bookstore, I check out the travel section, for maps, books, anything which may be useful in future games. So far, I've got a small collection of maps and guidebooks, which are useful for modern or near-modern games, even post-apocalyptic games.
I don't have to worry about damaging them or the players writing all over them or spilling stuff on them, and they get a new life in a new game.
Next time you are in a used bookstore, look in the travel section. Or at a friend or relatives house, check if they have any old maps they don't want anymore. You may find a map or book that gives you some ideas for a game.
And the cheaper the better, with free the best of all.
Reputations: Personality (Col. Lord Shaftington) +2, Personality (Lt. Simmons) +1, Institutional (Rank & File) +2, Institutional (11th Queens Own Rifles) +1
Traits: Literate, Disciplinarian, Crack Shot x2, 2nd Language (French), Cosmopolitan, Respect of the Men, Stiff Upper Lip.
Sergeant Owen was raised in a merchant family. After a dalliance with a rich and noble young woman, her father (Col. Lord Shaftington) managed to secure the boy a place in the 11th Queens Own Rifles to keep him out of trouble and away from his daughter.
He's spent most of his life in the army and has fought in many battles, mostly taking part in town sieges (and helped sack two towns, to the enrichment of his purse). He's been a sergeant for a while and recently been assigned to Lieutenant Vanderbottom. It's his job to make sure the muskets get delivered to San Sebastian, the green lieutenant survives (and hopefully gets a few brain cells to rub together) and the rest of the men follow orders.
(The player, DM (father of CM), has managed to run the poor sergeant very well as the intermediary between the privates and the lieutenant, avoiding the excesses of the one to the skulduggery of the others. I expect him to start busting some of the privates' heads in the next session).
The Dreaming Address: 5226 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 Phone: (206) 525-9394
RPGs: excellent selection Indie RPGs: excellent selection Used RPGs: limited (discounted items rather than true used items) Miniatures: limited to none Boardgames: limited Gaming space: limited (don't know whether there are games run there) Comics: excellent selection
Family Friendly: more often than not G rated Knowledgeable Staff: yes
Overall Rating: excellent
The Dreaming is located on "The Ave" (University Way) in the University District of Seattle, between 52nd and 55th streets. It has a biker church on one side and a nail salon on the other IIRC. After backing into the angled parking space in front (or parking across the street) and stepping in under the awning, you can see the shop has two big windows that display a montage of comics characters: Usagi Yojimbo is there with Milk and Cheese (dairy products gone bad) and Hellboy, with Spider-man swinging through. Very nice art.
Pushing through the front door, the register/display counter is straight ahead and to your left, against the front windows, are two large display bookshelves holding the latest comic and game releases, with the current comics display bookshelves extending all the way down the far wall. Towards the back of the store, also on the far wall, are the graphic novels.
The RPGs take up the two shelves along the back wall and the next two bookshelves around the corner towards the front, with the indie games lower down on that shelf. Closer to the register on that wall is another bookshelf of mostly WotC products before you get to another section of graphic novels towards the front.
The glass topped display case/register table holds card games, computer programs and specialty items. Throughout the middle of the store are tables and display stands holding a variety of things, from Dr. Who books to models to back issues in storage boxes. The "used" RPG section is mostly discounted game items rather than actual used products and is towards the back wall near the other gaming books.
The RPG section has a large variety of indie games, as well as Savage Worlds, World of Darkness, Shadowrun, GURPS, Call of Cthulhu, WotC products (3rd and 4th editions) and more.
Aaron, the owner, is friendly, knowledgeable and more than willing to special order things for you or put you on a list for soon-to-be-released items or help you find things from his inventory. For the most part, the store is family friendly, but on at least two occasions language and subject matter among the customers were *ahem* spicy.
Several RPG notables are said to frequent the Dreaming and I'll leave you to figure out which ones. On the whole, the Dreaming is, in my honest opinion, one of the top two game shops in the Seattle area. Next time you are in town, check it out.
Young Cornelius grew up wealthy and noble, but was a troublemaker. In school, he cheated and stole from fellow students but maintained good contacts. His dueling behavior was legendary and his sharp temper caused no end of trouble. He was a rake and a cad, though still enough of a gentlemen.
His father couldn't be bothered to properly cane the boy so he was sent as a junior officer on a small merchant vessel. The trouble continued until his father managed to get him off the ship and into the military. Maybe war and the 11th Queens Own Rifles will straighten out this wayward rascal.
He's used to the lower classes following his orders but only seems competent because of his sergeant. So far on this mission to San Sebastian, he's managed to stay alive and seems to be in charge, but the privates are thinking he's going to get them killed in some stupid, useless way.
(The player, CM, is the youngest member of the Corvis Monkey Troupe and has been playing this character quite well. From character generation to actual play, he's successfully made the other PCs dislike him and his orders. One of the other players asked if this game was a one-shot and I responded with "plan on fragging your officer?" which resulted in an answering grin).